Resources on Militarism and Environmental Harm.
We’re planning to add many more resources here in the coming months– and also, to present/organize this portal page a lot better. Here is an initial guide to what we’ve got here. (If you have suggestions of excellent resources you’d suggest we add, please send ’em along!)
1. Introductory and general resources:
- In 2010, a college student called Alex R made and shared a terrific little video titled “The Effects of War on the Environment”, which in just 4.5 minutes explains just about all you need to know about why it is the US military is such a big polluter, in both “peace-time” and war. Highly recommended!
- In late 2017, David Swanson of World Beyond War provided a more in-depth, textual survey of the issue, in this article,“War Threatens Our Environment.”
- Swanson published that article in connection with the terrific conference that World Beyond War held on “War and the Environment”. Here is the portal to the records page from that conference. And here is a portal page/playlist for the no fewer than 45 videos produced from that conference!
2. Sources on the Pentagon’s “everyday” polluting:
- The Department of Energy’s “Federal Facility Reporting” on “Annual Energy Data and Sustainability Performance”: This is a great portal page from which you can get the figures the Pentagon (Department of defense) and all other federal agencies report report, regarding their greenhouse gas emissions. (The “66.2 million tonnes of CO2-equivalent” figure used above comes from their reporting for 2016.)
- Some more detail on how the military generates these emissions can be found in these two articles from Patricia Hynes ( 2011 article and 2017 article), or this 2015 article by Lisa Savage.
- This page on the website Civilian Exposure has links to fairly up-to-date information about the contamination situation at Camp Lejeune in NC and to the EPA’s information about the status of the military’s 140 other “Superfund” (super-contaminated) sites around the country.
3. Sources on nuclear weapons and their contaminating effects:
- The Federation of American Scientists has this handy and up-to-date bar-graph showing which countries have how many nuclear warheads. (What they don’t tell you there is the explosive capacity of these warheads, which in most cases is many, many times that of the 15 or so kilotons of TNT equivalent in the Hiroshima and Nagasaki weapons.)
- In 2014, the Brookings Institution published this factsheet: “50 Facts About U.S. Nuclear Weapons Today.”
- The Nobel Peace Prize-winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons has some useful information at this page on their website about the effects of nuclear weapons on health and the environment.
4. Sources on the environmental effects of some recent (and current) wars:
- Joshua Frank had this general, 2010 round-up on the effects of the US-led war in Afghanistan on that country’s environment.
- Afghani engineer Sayed Hashmat published this 2015 survey of the main environmental challenges his country faced 14 years after the US-led invasion of his country.
- Lebanese blogger “Lebanize” published some in-real-time reporting of the environmental harm from Israel’s bombing of many Lebanese infrastructure facilities in July-August 2006, e.g., here.
- A Reuters report from January 2007 catalogued some of the environmental damage inflicted by Israel in that war.
- In 2008, Oil Change International published a well-researched report, “A Climate of War”, on the environmental costs (including opportunity costs) of the US invasion of Iraq. Some of its main findings are shown on the right.
5. Some short videos on the US military and the environment:
In addition to the videos described in Sec. 1 above, here are another couple of informative videos:
- “How Powerful are Modern Nuclear Weapons?” from TestTube News (short: 3m38s.)
- Gar Smith talking about Militarism and Environmental Harm at Diesel Bookstore in Larkspur, CA. (29m39s.)
Then, there’s a whole, massive category of videos available online that fall into a category that one might call “war porn.” But watched with an environmentalist’s eye, they can be pretty shocking. For example:
- “How the U.S. Air Force bombs ISIS?” (6 mins.)
- “Rare USAF Video. B-1, B-2, B-52 Heavy Carpet Bombing & F-22, F-16 Missile Test” (4m32s)
- “Aerial View of the Aircraft Boneyard at Davis Monthan AFB” (6m38s) At the end of that video, there are some shots that clearly show how close this massive aircraft junkyard is to some regular suburban-Tucson housing.
- Barry Sanders, The Green Zone: The Environmental Costs of Militarism (AK Press, 2009.)
- Gar Smith, ed., The War and Environment Reader (Just World Books, 2017.)
And more, coming soon…
We are planning to make the design of this resource page a lot stronger and more intuitive– and we can certainly incorporate more resources at that point. So please send along your suggestions!
Also, please be aware that all this work to curate and share useful resources on our website takes time and money. Developing this web portal is part of the “WarHurtsEarth” campaign that Just World Ed is running in Spring 2018. If you’d like to make either a recurring or a one-off-contribution to our work, you can learn how to do so here.
Another part of this project is gathering signatures for our statement To Save the Earth, Curb Militarism! Read and sign the statement here. (At that page, you can also download a PDF of the statement to share with any organizations you’re a part of.)
Thanks for any help you can give!